Healthy Snack-Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas

Well, for once I have decided to post something healthy with this salt and vinegar chickpea recipe.  This is makes a great alternative to fried snacks such as salt and vinegar chips.  I have always loved salt and vinegar flavoured anything- a childhood favourite was a bucket of chips with so much vinegar there was literally a swimming pool of it at the bottom of the bucket when I finished.  I didn’t even like chips without vinegar!

These little gems are very easy and make a slightly more gourmet party snack that is high in protein and has a little more nutritional value than a packet of crisps.  Give them a go!

Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas

1 can or jar of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

About 2 cups of white vinegar (or enough to cover the chickpeas in a saucepan)

Drizzle of olive oil

1/2 tsp salt.

1.Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Cover chickpeas with vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat

3.  Leave boiling for about 10 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and drain

5.  Spread over a pyrex baking dish in single layer and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt.

6.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly crispy.


Mandarin Yoghurt Cake

My third installment of February’s Daring Bakers challenge was a mandarin yoghurt cake.  Mostly because I had a lot of mandarins to use up!  To make the cake taste more strongly of mandarin, I boiled the mandarins in their skins until very soft, and then blitzed the whole lot up with the stick blender and put the lot in the cake, skins and all!

The recipe is adapted from My Fabulous Recipes

Mandarin Yoghurt Cake

2/3 cup softened butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup thick natural/Greek yoghurt
4 mandarins

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

  1. Boil mandarins in a saucepan until soft (about 15 minutes)
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Blitz boiled mandarins in food processor or with stick blender
  5. Add yogurt and mandarin to eggs and sugar
  6. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  7. Add the wet mixture and beat until smooth
  8. Pour into two medium sized  greased bread pans
  9. Bake at 180 degrees C for 45-50 minute until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean if poked in the middle of the bread.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

Serve with lemon yoghurt icing(recipe below)

Lemon Yoghurt Icing

3/4 cup natural yoghurt

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp butter softened

1.  Beat yogurt, butter and icing sugar until smooth.

2.  Add lemon juice and refrigerate to firm up a bit.


Daring Bakers’ February Challenge- Quick Breads

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I couldn’t decide on just one quick bread for this challenge, so I made a few!  The first was a banana peanut caramel loaf, which was nice, but very heavy, probably due to too many peanuts, which tended to dominate the flavor.  It was really more like peanut loaf.

Banana peanut caramel quick bread

a caramalized onion and chorizo bread

and a mandarin yoghurt cake

Recipes to follow….

Tuna Mornay with Chip Topping

One of the dishes I remember my mum making when I was growing up was Tuna Mornay with chips (crisps) on top.  I remember the topping was lovely and crunchy and as the weather has become slightly more wintery recently, I was in the mood for a nice winter comfort food.  I have never made Tuna Mornay before, but after a quick internet search I had a rough idea of what should be in the recipe and decided to give it a crack with what I had in the cupboard.

slightly overbrowned!

The result was a tasty, cheesy winter warmer, rather like a jazzed up macaroni and cheese!  It also  contained enough veggies to make it seem moderately healthy. The chips added a lovely crispy crust and contrasted well with the creamy tuna.

I think this recipe would work well with a variety of vegetables and it’s particularly  good if you only have frozen veggies in.  I used carrots, frozen peas, and tinned corn, but I think spinach, mushrooms, pumpkin or zucchini might also work nicely.  The recipe freezes well and also reheats well the next day in the oven (better!) or microwave , although to avoid soggy chips I would add some fresh chips when reheating to maintain the crispness.

Tuna Mornay with Chip Topping

500g of tinned tuna in oil/water well drained

1 small tin corn kernels

2 carrots diced into small squares

3/4 cup frozen peas

4 eggs

2 Tbsp plain flour

3 Tbsp butter

500ml milk

3/4 cup cheddar cheese (grated)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

1 bag plain potato chips (crisps)

1 1/2 cups cooked pasta such as macaroni or penne

salt and pepper to season

1.  Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente

2.  Boil eggs for about 10 minutes or until hard boiled.

3.  Cook diced carrots in a little water in a saucepan until soft, drain and set aside.

4.  Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan and add flour stirring well to combine.

5.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuosly

6.  Add milk little by little, whisking well all the time.

7.  Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly, about 7 minutes, whisking continuously to prevent lumps.

8.  Remove from heat and add grated cheddar cheese.

9.  Place drained tuna, cooked pasta, carrots, corn, peas, chopped eggs and cheese sauce into an oven proof dish and mix well to combine.

10.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with crushed chips.

11.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes until top is slightly browned (if browning too fast cover with tin foil).

The perfect winter comfort food!



Friday Night Quick Tempura in the Kitchen

Forget Friday night pizza or fish and chips, go Japanese and try some homemade Tempura in the Kitchen with a bottle of wine to chill out after the long working week!

Tempura is easy and quick to make, and tastes best when eaten straight from the pan and hasn’t had time to go soggy and lose its crisp shell. You can tempura just about anything too, from the more traditional veggies and prawns to bananas and bacon (our latest tempura test).

The key to good tempura is to make sure the oil is hot enough. This stops the food from absorbing too much oil and becoming greasy. Make sure you drain it on a paper towel after too, removing any excess oil.

Just about any vegetable that is fairly hard and holds its shape works well with a crispy tempura batter, so try eggplant, sweet potato, pumpkin, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, onion, capsicum, or any other that takes your fancy. Prawns are the traditional protein found on tempura platters of Japanese restaurants but experiment with different things, (fish and seafood works particularly well) and see what works for you! We served ours with a sweet chilli coriander and lemon dressing.

We tried bacon pieces and banana on our last Friday night tempura fest, with surprisingly successful results. The bacon turned out super crispy and full of flavour and would be really nice scattered over a soup or in a salad for a bit of crunch. We fried pieces of banana and served them in a bed of melted chocolate for dessert, which was reminiscent of Pisang Goreng (Indonesian fried banana) and also went down a treat!

So hit the kitchen this Friday, crack open your favourite drop and chew over the weeks events with hot from the pot crispy tempura!

Here’s Breadheads easy Tempura batter recipe

125g plain flour
30g corn flour
1/2 tsp salt
300ml soda water / 125ml soda water and 125ml beer
black pepper to season

1. Mix ingredients together and whisk roughly till it just comes togeather don’t worry if there are a couple of lumps.
2. Heat 1 1/2 cups vegetable/ sun flower oil until very hot in a pan on high heat.
3. Dunk veggies/ other stuff in batter and coat well.
4. Drop into oil and fry until crispy and slightly browned. (If they start to cook too fast and batter is crispy before inside is cooked, remove or lower heat for a while to cool oil slightly)
5. Drain on paper towel and eat as soon as possible with a dipping sauce.

Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
squeeze of lemon juice
small handfull fresh coriander finely chopped

Mix and dunk.

Homemade fast food!